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NBA DFS value plays $5K or under for Thursday, December 23

We go over some top bargain options $5K or under on DraftKings for Thursday’s main slate.

Robin Lopez #33 of the Orlando Magic dribbles as Blake Griffin #2 of the Brooklyn Nets defends during the first half at Barclays Center on December 18, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

It’s weird times in the NBA, folks. These slates are unlike any slates we’ve ever slated before. The amount of players out due to COVID-19 protocols keeps growing and shrinking by the day. As more players come back, more go into protocols, opening up spots for veterans and hardship 10-day contracts. As a result, we have a revolving door of value that we can’t really project.

In NBA DFS, you can find quality value plays $5K or under that can give you a quick 10 points off the bench, grab some rebounds, or stuff the stat sheet. It does not matter if you are playing a 50/50 or Double-Up contest, we are going to provide you with three players that you need to put in your lineup.

Robin Lopez, Magic, $4,500

Who would have thought that the big question on this slate would be whether or not you should play Robin Lopez chalk. Normally, I’d say no, fade the chalk, especially when it’s Lopez. This play really hinges on the status of both Mo Bamba and Wendell Carter Jr. The past three games, Lopez hasn’t scored under 32.25 fantasy points. He had a double-double one night via rebounds and one last night via assists. If Mo and WCJ are out again, this is another strong spot for Sideshow Bob.

Willy Hernangomez, Pelicans, $3,800

With Jonas Valanciunas out for the Pelicans against the Magic, we should see Hernangomez start in the front court. He was pretty efficient off the bench in the Pels’ last game against the Blazers, scoring 13 points with 6 boards and a pair of assists in just 17 minutes. If you up that projection to around 25 minutes, it’s easy to see why Willy is a top value option on this slate. Like Lopez, Hernangomez could end up being a bit chalky given we know about the Jonas illness that has him out.

Lance Stephenson, Hawks, $3,200

Who isn’t happy Lance is back? The veteran signed a contract with the Atlanta Hawks, who are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Stephenson made his season debut on Wednesday night against the Magic, playing 22 minutes in the loss. He didn’t score well but had 8 rebounds and 5 assists. This isn’t an easy matchup, but the Sixers are also missing a handful of players due to COVID. Stephenson has a lot of upside if he’s going to play 20-25 minutes again at near min-price.